Trump halts plans to expand offshore drilling after legal setback

Court decision blocking fossil fuel activity in swaths of the Arctic complicated administration plans to ramp up fossil fuel extraction

The Trump administration has shelved plans to vastly expand offshore oil and gas drilling in the wake of a recent court decision that blocked fossil fuel activity in swaths of the Arctic.

The administration had opened up almost all US waters to companies seeking to drill oil or gas deposits but this expansion has been halted due to a legal setback, according to David Bernhardt, the interior secretary.

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Cyclone Kenneth: Mozambique hit by its strongest storm ever

Wind speeds of 140km/h threatens fresh devastation for country reeling from Cyclone Idai

The strongest cyclone ever to hit Mozambique has made landfall in the country’s north, five weeks after Cyclone Idai devastated its centre, according to meteorologists.

Surpassing both Idai and the 2000 cyclone that had been the strongest to date, Cyclone Kenneth hit Cabo Delgado province with wind speeds of 140km/h (87mph), bringing the threat of extreme rainfall.

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Extinction Rebellion holds Hyde Park rally to mark ‘pause’ in protests

Ceremony in London park marks break in activism after day spent targeting the City

Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion activists have gathered at Hyde Park Corner in London to celebrate a pause in the protests that have gripped London for over a week and are preparing to take the fight back to local communities.

Climate protesters targeted the city’s financial hub on Thursday to highlight the role the sector plays in climate change. The environmental group said it was the last day of action before choosing to stop this stage of its campaign of peaceful mass civil disobedience, following protests in which hundreds of people were arrested and thousands of police officers deployed to sites occupied by the group for more than a week.

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Microsoft becomes third listed US firm to be valued at $1tn

Company beat sales and profit expectations to join Apple and Amazon in prestigious club

Microsoft has become the third publicly listed US company, after Apple and Amazon, to boast a market value of more than $1tn after bumper quarterly results boosted its share price.

The company beat sales and profits expectations in the three months to 31 March, thanks in part to its cloud computing business, which signed up major corporate clients over the period.

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Canada says Facebook broke privacy laws and ‘refused to act responsibly’

Top watchdog promises to force change following investigation into Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal

Facebook broke Canadian privacy laws when it collected the information of some 600,000 citizens, a top watchdog in the country said on Thursday, pledging to seek a court order to force the social media company to change its practices.

Canada’s privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien made his comments while releasing the results of an investigation, opened a year ago, into a data sharing scandal involving Facebook and the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

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Labor’s support for ‘carbon disaster’ in Betaloo basin condemned

Lock the Gate says fracking in Northern Territory basin would be the equivalent of 50 new coal-fired power stations

Labor’s support for unlocking the gas supply from the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo basin has drawn the anger of environmental groups, who say its emissions would dwarf those from Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine.

Earlier this week Labor announced it would replace the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility with a different fund to finance infrastructure projects of national significance in the north of the country.

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World’s oceans are becoming stormier, researchers discover

Data matches predictions that weather will get more extreme as planet warms, scientists say

The world’s oceans have become more stormy during the past three decades, according to the largest and most detailed study of its kind.

The findings add to concerns that as the world gets hotter, extreme events such as storms and floods could become more frequent and more devastating in their impact.

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Macron outlines plan for ‘significant’ tax cut after months of unrest

President also promises to raise pensions as he calls for order to be restored

Emmanuel Macron has promised tax cuts, pension rises and a continuation of his reform programme while responding to five months of demonstrations by gilets jaunes (yellow vests) anti-government demonstrators.

In his first press conference in two years as France’s president, the pro-business centrist said he recognised the protesters’ “just demands” and the “anger and impatience for change” but public order must now be restored.

“The transformations that are in progress and the transformations that are essential for our country should not be stopped,” he said from the Elysée palace.

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North Korea billed US $2m for Otto Warmbier’s hospital care – report

US official who was sent to retrieve Warmbier signed an agreement to pay the surprise invoice, the Washington Post reports

The United States was handed a $2m bill from North Korea for the hospital care of American Otto Warmbier, who died soon after his release back to the US in a comatose state in 2017, after being detained for 17 months.

Acting on instructions passed down from Donald Trump, the main US official who was sent to North Korea to bring Warmbier back to the US signed an agreement to pay the surprise invoice he was handed by Pyongyang, according to the Washington Post on Thursday, which cited two anonymous sources familiar with the situation.

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The Guardian view on Libya: this crisis is international | Editorial

Khalifa Haftar’s foreign backers have egged him on – and civilians are paying the price

The warlord Khalifa Haftar, who controls eastern Libya, has never disguised his ambitions. Once one of Muammar Gaddafi’s generals, he returned from exile in the US when the dictator fell in 2011, attempted to launch a coup three years later, repeatedly declared his intention to take Tripoli and has said that his country may not be ready for democracy.

So the professions of shock from his backers when he mounted his assault on the western capital, held by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord, cannot be treated with great seriousness. The only real surprise about his advance was its timing. By moving while the UN secretary-general was in the country, to discuss arrangements for a UN-organised conference intended to lead to elections, he destroyed muted hopes of a political solution and underscored his already evident contempt for the process. As the prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, complained, the response of many supposed allies was silence.

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Death toll in Sri Lanka bombings revised down to 253

Official cites difficulty of identifying victims as reason for revision

Sri Lankan authorities have revised the death toll from Easter Sunday’s string of bombings down to 253 people from the previous estimate of 359.

The country’s director general for health services issued the correction on Thursday, citing the difficulty of identifying victims due to the nature of the bombings, some of which took place in closely confined spaces and left some bodies in pieces.

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